How to Expand RAID 5 Array Partitions in 2021 [New]

Jean updated on Nov 04, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

RAID, Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks or Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a data storage virtualization technology that provides a way to save the same data in different places on multiple physical hard disks. Are you looking for a reliable way to extend your RAID 5 disk with unallocated space or a new disk?

On this page, you will learn:

  1. 1. What is RAID 5?
  2. 2. Why do you need to increase RAID 5 size?
  3. 3. How to Expand RAID 5 drive on your own?

Follow the content navigation, and find the right method to expand RAID 5 Array on your Windows Server computers:

RAID 5 Overview: What Is RAID 5

First, let's learn what is RAID 5.

how does RAID 5 work

Generally, RAID 5 is a redundant array of independent disks configuration that uses disk striping with parity. RAID 5 is consists of a minimum of three hard disk drives or more drives. It is considered one of the most secure RAID configurations as RAID 5 uses parity instead of mirroring for data redundancy.

When data is written to a RAID 5 drive, the system calculates parity and writes that parity into the drive. Once a hard drive fails, RAID 5 can rebuild the failed drive using the parity data without losing any files.

HardRAID 5 VS SoftRAID 5, What's The Differences

As the ways to extend HardRaid 5 disk and SoftRaid 5 drive are different. It's important to learn the differences between the two types of RAID drives. Here is a comparison of HardRaid 5 and SoftRaid 5:

Comparison HardRAID 5 SoftRAID 5
Consist Uses RAID cards or controllers to manage multiple disks working together to increase overall system performance for computer users, especially Server users.
  • Uses the processing power of the operating system to combines multiple physical disks into one or more logical units. 
Pros
  • Faster in Reading and Writing than SoftRAID 5
  • More stable than SoftRAID
  • Cost is lower
  • Breaks the limit of hardware RAID controller
Cons
  • Cost is high
  • Slower than HardRAID

Why Need to Expand/Extend RAID 5

Case 1: "I have ML 350 G5 Server with 3 Hard disks currently configure RAID 5. Now the RAID partition is nearly full. Can I expand RAID 5 without destroying my data and OS?"

Case 2: "I've got a Compaq ML370G2 with three drives in a RAID5 array connected to a 5i controller. How do I add a 4th drive to the RAID 5 array?"

When the RAID 5 disk is with low disk space, it will highly affect the Server speed and the computer performance. Also, you can no longer save data in the drive. What will you do if the RAID is out of space like the above two cases?

Generally, the direct fix is to increase RAID size, which will maximize the performance of server computers by having more disk space on RAID 5.

How to Expand RAID 5 Array, Adding Capacity (4 Ways)

So how to extend RAID 5 drives to larger capacity? The ways to expand HardRAID 5 disk and SoftRAID 5 drive are different.

Here we collect 4 reliable methods to help you effectively upgrade RAID 5 drives to a larger capacity with ease:

  1. Way 1. Expand HardRAID 5 Disk with Unallocated Space
  2. Way 2. Add Disk to Upgrade HardRAID 5 Capacity
  3. Way 3. Extend SoftRAID 5 with Dynamic Unallocated Space
  4. Way 4. Adding a New Disk to Expand SoftRAID 5

Before You Start: Download Right RAID 5 Expansion Tools for Help

Some of you may want to use Windows built-in Disk Management utility. However, RAID 5 volume can only be created in the dynamic disk and Disk Management cannot extend dynamic volume. That is to say, Disk Management cannot help you. Fortunately, you can extend RAID 5 space with enough unallocated space left on the disk by using powerful partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master Server.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Besides RAID 5 expansion, you can also apply this tool to repair RAID-5 volumes when you fail to access or visit RAID 5 disks.

Now, let's see how to effectively extend RAID 5 by adding more space or add a new disk to your server machine.

Method 1. Extend/Expand HardRAID 5 Array With Unallocated Space

Applies to: Add unallocated space to extend RAID 5 disk partition. 

When your HardRAID 5 disk is out of space but you find there is unallocated space left on the same disk in Disk Management, you can directly extend it.

You can simply apply EaseUS Partition Master to extend the RAID 5 disk space with the following steps:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master on your PC.

Step 2. Free up space to extend partition.

If the hard drive has enough unallocated space to extend the target partition, jump to Step 3, and continue. If not, free up space first:

  • Right-click on a partition next to the target partition and select "Resize/Move".
  • Drag the partition ends to free up space, leaving enough unallocated space behind the target partition, click "OK".
free up disk space to get unallocated space

Step 3. Extend partition.

  • Right-click on the target partition and select "Resize/Move".
extend partition -1
  • Drag the target partition handle into the unallocated space to extend partition.
extend partition -2

Step 4. Keep all changes.

  • Click the "Execute Operation" button and click "Apply" to keep all changes.
extend partition -3

Method 2. Add Disk to Upgrade HardRAID 5 Capacity

Applies to: Add a new disk and configure RAID 5 disk on servers so as to upgrade the HardRAID 5 capacity.

Note that if you used Server controller to configure RAID 5, when your disks are out of space with no unallocated space left, you'll have to add new disks to upgrade the RAID 5 capacity. 

Notice:
If you add a disk that's larger than the other disks, it will be resized to match the capacity of the others.
For example, you have three 80 GB disks and add a 160 GB disk, you will only be able to use 80 GB of the 160GB disk. The rest space of the drive will be unusable. 

Remember to back up data on RAID 5 with reliable Server backup software in advance. Here you can apply EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise to effectively back up everything on your RAID 5 disk volumes within only a few simple clicks.

back up raid 5 data with easeus todo backup

Here, we take Dell and Intel as examples to show you how to upgrade RAID 5 disks' capacity by adding a new drive. You may follow the video tutorial or the step-by-step guide below for help:

Upgrade RAID 5 capacity in Dell PowerEdge R940 server:

Source from: YouTube; Created by: VRLA Tech

Step 1. Insert drives into the server via a RAID controller and boot up the server.

Step 2. Press F2 to enter the System Setup menu.

Step 3. Select "Device Settings" once you are in the system setup menu.

Step 4. Select "Device Settings" once you are in the system setup menu.

Step 5. Select the RAID Controller > Main Menu > Physical Disk Management

If all the physical disks are displaying as "Ready", click "Back" to go back to the main menu.

Step 6. Select "Configuration Management" > Select "Create Virtual Disk". 

Step 7. At the Select RAID Level section, select "RAID 5" under the drop-down menu.

Install RAID 5 on Server

Step 8. Click "Select Physical Disks" > Then check to select all the physical disks under the CHOOSE UNCONFIGURED PHYSICAL DISKS section.

Step 9. Then select "Apply Changes" to complete the operation.

Click "OK" to continue.

Confirm to configure RAID 5 disk to upgrade its capacity

Step 10. Select "Create Virtual Disk" > Check "Confirm" and click "Yes". (All data that was previously on the drives will be lost. So make sure that you've backed up the drive data in advance.)

Step 11. You'll be prompted that the operation has been performed successfully, click "OK" to confirm.

After this, you can reboot the Server machine, and you can enter Disk Management to see if your RAID 5 Array partition is now extended.

If your Server vendors are not Dell, please contact your vendors for help. 

Method 3. Extend SoftRAID 5 with Dynamic Unallocated Space

Applies to: Extend software RAID 5 space on dynamic disk with unallocated space.

If you created RAID 5 with 3 or more dynamic disks, you can first check in Disk Management and confirm is there unallocated space left on the disks. 

If yes, you can apply reliable EaseUS partition manager software to extend the RAID 5 volume with ease. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master and right-click on the RAID 5 volume, select "Resize/Move".

Expand RAID 5

Step 2. Drag the RAID 5 right handle to add unallocated space into the volume and click "OK" to confirm.

Add unallocated space to extend RAID 5

Step 3. Click the Execute Operation button to apply all the changes.

Confirm to expand RAID 5

Method 4. Adding a New Disk to Expand SoftRAID 5

If all the RAID 5 dynamic disks are running out of disk space, you can add a new disk to extend the RAID 5. The most important thing is to backup data first from your current RAID 5 disks to another external storage drive.

Then, follow the steps below to add an extra drive to extend RAID 5 on Windows Servers:

Step 1. Install the new drive to your server computer via the connection cables.

The new disk must have the same capacity as other disks.

Step 2. Start the PC and enter Disk Management after installing the new drive.

Step 3. Right-click the new disk and select "Online", then initialize the disk as the same partition style as the old RAID drives.

Add new disk to extend RAID 5

Step 4. To add the new disk into RAID 5, you'll need to delete the old-drive array.

Note that this will cause data loss, therefore, remember to back up all the useful data in advance.  

Delete existing RAID Array

Step 5. Now, you may right-click on the unallocated space to select "New RAID-5 Volume". 

Create RAID 5 volume with newly added disk

Step 6. Select both old and new disks to add to the RAID 5 Array. Click "Next" to continue.

Step 7. Assign a new drive letter for the RAID 5 volume, and set the file system for the new RAID 5 Array, click "Next" to continue.

Step 8. Click "Finish" to complete the process.

Finish expanding RAID 5 with new disk

Now, wait patiently and let the disks to resyncing and formatting. Later, you'll see you have extended RAID 5 with the newly added disk running on your server.

What RAID Level Is The Best? RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10

What RAID is the best? What is the difference between RAID 5 and RAID 6? You can get your answers here.

RAID 0 splits data evenly across two or more disks, without parity information, redundancy, or fault tolerance. It is normally used to increase performance.

RAID 0 overview

RAID 1 refers to an exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data on two or more disks. It writes two copies of the data simultaneously on two separate drives. It is commonly used for small database systems, enterprise servers, and home PCs where fairly inexpensive fault tolerance is required. (See also: How to recover data from RAID 1.)

what is RAID 1

RAID 6 extends RAID 5 by adding another parity block. Thus, it uses block-level striping with two parity blocks distributed across all member disks. RAID 6 groups have a minimum of four hard disk drives. When large and reliable storage is needed, then RAID 6 is one of the best choices. It protects data if two disks failure happens.

everything about RAID6

Considering data security and the data reading and writing speed, RAID 5 exceeds the performance of RAID 0, 1, and 6. 

People Also Ask about RAID 5 

If you encounter other types of problems while using RAID 5 disk, don't worry. You can check the answers below for a quick resolution:

1. How do I recover data on RAID 5 disk?

There are two ways that work to recover RAID 5 disk data. When one of your RAID 5 disk fails to work, you can still boot up the disk and RAID 5 will automatically rebuild the data for you.

If you cannot access the RAID 5 volumes, you can run reliable RAID recovery software to scan and restore all data from the RAID 5 disks. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Then you can follow the steps as shown on this page to re-create RAID 5 on your server computer.

2. How to back up RAID data? 

Mostly, you have two options to create a backup of your RAID drive data. One is to manually copy and save data from RAID disks to an external storage device.

The other option is to apply reliable RAID backup software for help. EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise can easily help you backup Windows Server RAID disk data in only a few simple clicks.

3. How to Clone RAID Disk?

To clone RAID to another disk safely, reliable Disk Cloning software is a good choice. EaseUS Todo Backup is RAID clone software, which is file-by-file disk cloning and both Windows version and WinPE bootable CD support RAID array.

You may refer to this page for a step-by-step guide: How to Clone RAID Disk Safely

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Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

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On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

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